How would I know if I need glasses?
June 1, 2016 1:12 PM   Subscribe

I went to the opticians last Friday. Apparently my astigmatism is borderline for needing glasses, she said not to get any then and I'm to go back if I experience problems and they'll fill the prescription. How do I know when that is?

The optician said my eyesight had deteriorated since I was last in 2 years ago, that I do have a prescription (sph -.25 cyl -.75 in each eye) but that if I'm not having problems I don't need to get glasses. She seemed to think I probably would need them at some point soon. Thing is I'm not sure what problems I should be looking for.

If I think about it now, I struggle to read LCD screens at a distance. This means that I sometimes find it hard to read the TV guide on screen, or some text on my coworkers screen. I think I see approaching bus numbers later than I should. I am often very tired at the end of the day. But I don't think I notice any eyestrain, nor do I think that I get frequent headaches. What do you think should prompt me to go back to the opticians?
posted by plonkee to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
You can buy a pair of glasses on Zenni Optical for under $15 including shipping. I would just buy a pair and wear them for a day and see if it's enough better to care.
posted by gregr at 1:17 PM on June 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'd get glasses if you are experiencing headaches or difficulty with activities. I have about that much astigmatism plus a step or 1.5 steps correction, depending on the eye. I rarely wear glasses. Having to wear glasses all the time is inconvenient. You can't switch to sunglasses, cuddle your toddler etc. And you get really used to seeing perfectly. Then it can be hard to go without. I push myself to not use glasses whenever possible, because I like the freedom of doing without (this is my many years post lasik rx). I wouldn't really consider it, but you could get glasses to see if you think it makes things easier. You're only out a bit of money.
posted by Kalmya at 1:18 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think the decision is pretty individual. I got my first pair of glasses when I was in high school (was taking flying lessons at the time and they were required for me), but I only started wearing them full-time in college when I noticed symptoms much like what you're describing. Once I realized there was an option to see things so clearly I never wanted to take them off. My mom, on the other hand, is content to walk around in a little fuzzy 'bubble' as much as she can, because she prefers the comfort of not having glasses/contacts to being able to see just a little bit clearer.

Given how inexpensive it is these day to buy glasses online, maybe consider just buying a pair from Zenni or the like and seeing how you like them?
posted by DingoMutt at 1:19 PM on June 1, 2016

I only have a fairly small astigmatism, but it is different in each eye. Mine is just enough worse than yours that I do need my glasses to drive legally. I wear them all the time. Because I like to see.

It sounds like you might want to think about getting glasses. Having clear vision is really nice. I hadn't noticed how hard I had to look at things, even though I wasn't getting headaches.

If you do decide to get a pair, get the first pair from a physical store. So you can try on different frames and get them adjusted. And wear them all the time, or you won't get used to them. But do not believe the optician if they tell you that the stairs looking wrong is totally normal, it isn't. But I still strongly suggest going to a store, any store, to get the first pair. Then Zenni your heart out.
posted by monopas at 1:24 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I know that I waited way too long to get an eye exam and ended up needing a fairly strong script for starters. It was really hard to adjust to them. I had headaches for a month. (It was expected. The doctor warned me, and it still sucked. ) If I had gone a few years ago and probably not needed a strong prescription it would have been much easier to adjust. So... don't wait.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:44 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I started wearing glasses in a situation similar to yours, and now I feel like either my eyes have gotten worse, or I'm addicted to them. I wear them on and off, mostly wear them when 1) I drive so I can read street signs faster, and 2) when I really need to focus and don't want to feel like I'm seeing things through a mirror darkly.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:02 PM on June 1, 2016

Best answer: If I think about it now, I struggle to read LCD screens at a distance. This means that I sometimes find it hard to read the TV guide on screen, or some text on my coworkers screen. I think I see approaching bus numbers later than I should.

This is how you tell when you need glasses. You're entitled to 20/20 vision, as clear as everybody else's.

It's not clear from your post why you're resisting touching up your vision now, but instead want to wait. Are you assuming the "problems" mentioned by the doc referred to something painful, which you don't have yet? I can't speak for your doc, but I'd say she meant it's time for glasses if you can't see as well as everyone else, which is what you've got now.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:30 PM on June 1, 2016

I was going to say you know you need glasses when you're struggling to read street signs when you're out navigating; but if you can't even read the tv then you're definitely at that point.
posted by bleep at 3:03 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have about the same quality of vision and got the same "you don't really *have* to get glasses if you don't want" thing from my optician. I opted for the glasses because I get eye-strain which leads to headaches and general workplace misery after staring at a computer screen all day.

Annoyingly, my prescription doesn't actually help with minor fuzziness like you describe (my main complaint is things like rn and m looking identical to me on otherwise legible print), which leads me to believe that my optician was wrong and I probably need a stronger prescription after all. But my glasses prevent eye-strain and related problems, so it's fine for now.
posted by Sara C. at 3:14 PM on June 1, 2016

For a data point, I never really get eyestrain when my prescription is getting old - it's just a lot of squinting, difficulty reading things far away. When I was in school I'd find myself sitting at the front of the classroom because I couldn't see the board. That kind of thing.
posted by radioamy at 4:20 PM on June 1, 2016

Things I noticed when I first got glasses:

-That trees had discrete leaves
-That I could read street signs from down the street
-That I could read text on signs from across the room (e.g. the "EXIT" sign across an auditorium should not be fuzzy!)
-That the halos around streetlights were not supposed to be there

These things are all subtle but having them corrected makes a significant difference in my everyday life. I never had headaches but a lot of squinting, and that's all gone. I never squint with my glasses on.

Glasses are pretty cheap if you buy them online at someplace like Zenni, with a prescription like yours that shouldn't be difficult at all. If you can afford $50 to experiment with something that might drastically improve your life, why not try it and see if it makes a difference?
posted by epanalepsis at 6:38 AM on June 2, 2016

Sounds like while you could wait to get glasses, you're probably slightly more on the 'now' rather than 'later' side of the equation:
*Optician said you'll need them 'soon'
*That struggle to read screens
*Distant objects (bus numbers) aren't clear

Do you just not want to wear glasses (or contacts), or is there some other reason not to do it now? I can understand not wanting laser vision correction (ain't nobody coming near my eyes with a laser!), but there's no stigma against glasses.
posted by easily confused at 7:01 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

My perspective is colored by having worn glasses since I was seven years old. That said, why would you not want to have the clearest vision you could? Glasses are a pretty minor treatment.

(Also, the just-got-new-glasses feeling of "look at the leaves on that tree!" is kinda delightful.)
posted by Lexica at 1:09 AM on June 4, 2016

« Older Help me find these songs I can't describe......   |   Where can i find a flat-ish pillow? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.